Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on February 17, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Laurie Blakeman will run for Liberal leadership
Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman announced Thursday morning she will be running for leadership of the Alberta Liberal Party.
“When Dr. Swann chooses to step down as Leader, I am going to throw my hat into the ring and I’m really excited about it,” Blakeman said.
“I came into politics because I wanted to change the world, which sounds overly grand but I did. I’ve been very successful especially considering I’m in opposition in getting a number of things changed in the province and really I’m just looking to take that to the next level.”
The longtime Liberal and social media newcomer sent a “tweet” out from her Twitter account @LaurieBlakeman with the announcement and a link to the release.
Blakeman is the party’s house leader and is the first to declared candidate to replace current leader David Swann, who announced he would be stepping down from his post at the end of the upcoming spring session.
Blakeman said a number of friends and supporters had moved to the Alberta Party over the past year and had asked her to consider doing so as well.
She wanted to see if both the Alberta Party and the Liberals could come together but the party didn’t agree with the “collaboration” she had in mind.
“I am very happy with what the Liberals are offering me, and what they have always offered me… it’s better than a kick in the butt with a frozen boot, lets be honest and no where to go but up.”
She says she has qualities that set her apart from other contenders or past contenders, including moving past ideologies attached to particular parties.
“Some people call me a hard ass, some people call me fierce but the truth is I’m very pragmatic, I am here to get things done,” she said. “Evidence-based decision making. I’ve never argued with the government just because I had to argue with it.”
She adds many policies in the province needs to change.
“Alberta is a modern, urban, province. We should think of ourselves as a modern, urban, province, but every picture you see of Alberta is a mountain and a wheat field,” she said.
“How many of us live in a wheat field? Not many. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have some really serious policy around rural alberta but most of us live in urban areas and our policies should reflect that.”
The Liberals have eight seats in the 83-seat legislature.
Meanwhile a leadership race for the Alberta Tories is underway with Ted Morton, Doug Horner, Doug Griffiths and Alison Redford all having declared they want to replace Premier Ed Stelmach when he steps down.